ELITE Transformational Leader Kathleen Barrett of Avant Healthcare

Kathleen Barrett

President, Avant Healthcare Marketing

Avant Healthcare



Creating an Agency Network Marketing Model

Formerly with a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company, Kathleen (“Kat”) Barrett joined Avant Healthcare as an Account Manager in 2008 and—in just six years—rose through various positions to become President of Avant Healthcare Marketing (AHM), the firm’s largest agency. “Working my way through diverse jobs provided important first-hand experience,” Kat says. “That wide-ranging knowledge about our projects, services, challenges, successes, and overall culture proved to be invaluable preparation for my current leadership role.”

Kat helped to guide the company through lean times by initiating changes, such as organizational restructuring and new services development—innovations that both raised employee morale and improved customer satisfaction.

“Kat forged new types of client relationships through her partnership with a major pharmaceutical firm, developing an ‘integrated network marketing’ model where the company was outsourcing key roles of the brand,” says Deborah Wood, Founder and CEO of DWA Healthcare Communications, AHM’s parent company. “This innovation was successfully piloted with one multibillion dollar brand and later expanded to another blockbuster product team, with Kat serving as the brand team extension for both.”

A motivational and supportive leader, Kat’s intention is to exceed her teams’ needs with practices such as an open-door policy, monthly staff meetings, quarterly goal-setting reviews, and career development plans for all the people who report directly and indirectly to her. Additionally, to proactively update her 140+ staff, she established an email communication affectionately dubbed “Kat’s Corner,” which also helps her to ensure employees understand the “whys” as the agency undergoes changes.

From the financial and resourcing standpoint, Kat has helped to lead the company through significant growth. Under Kat’s leadership, AHM saw a staff increase of 39% from 2014 to 2015 plus a remarkable 63% increase in revenue over the same period—all accomplished while continuing to exceed customer expectations and to deliver on clients’ strategic goals.


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